WASHINGTON (AP) — Less than two months before a presidential election in which both parties are fighting for the key Hispanic vote, the Obama administration has approved the first wave of applications from young illegal immigrants hoping to avoid deportation and get a work permit.
The Homeland Security Department is notifying a small group of people this week that they have been approved to stay in the country for two years as part of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The first approvals come just three weeks after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services started accepting applications for the program that Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano first announced June 15.
In an internal document obtained by The Associated Press, the government had estimated previously that it could take months for each application to be reviewed and approved. So far, about 72,000 people have applied to avoid deportation.
“Following a thorough, individualized case review, USCIS has now begun notifying individuals of the determination on their deferral requests,